Ambler Tranquility Off The Beaten Path
By John W. Gilmore
Since the invention of the internet and better technology, small towns with a lot of activities are the places that offer the best of both worlds — the excitement of the city and the warmth of a small community. Many of the small towns in Montgomery county and other areas, like some of the sections of Philadelphia, are beginning to blossom and offer the type of community people want. The borough of Ambler in Montgomery County, Pa. offers the tranquility of a small town with a lot of activity. It is easy to walk the streets instead of driving, while taking full advantage of the many amenities. There is a building boom taking place. Houses and condos are being built rapidly, or renovated, in this town that has been recognized as the best small town in PA by Thrillist Travel in 2017. The infrastructure that suits the millennial population’s need has developed.
There is no need to drive all the way to the next city or even downtown. You can easily walk or bike. Even so, if you want to drive or are a visitor you can. There are meters in the downtown section. During lunchtime hours, after six, and Sundays they are all free. If you cannot find parking on the street there is a large municipal parking lot right at the center of all of the activity. You can also find parking in the nearby residential areas on the street. No need to drive all the way to the city anymore. You can find the activities right there and not bring the car. You can walk if you’re a resident, or bike, if you would like, to get to the exciting, hot spots.
Just down Main Street you see two coffee shops plus other places that sell coffee, ice cream parlors, Gelato bars, Indian Mexican food restaurants, and even large Yoga studios, dance classes, hardware stores, and pizza shops. On week nights the trees are lit up in a girdle of bright, white lights, along the main street that gives adds to the festive atmosphere. Crowds of people mill around traveling to various places. The crowds are not overwhelming and hard to navigate. There is a feeling of excitement in the air. One can get around easily looking at the various shops. Music is pouring out of some of the restaurants. People are talking — some are eating water ice and others are going in and out of Limon’s Mexican Restaurant. Everything is alive and buzzing.
You hear a band playing at the Lucky Well, right across the street from the Ambler Theater, a Non-Profit 501c3 membership theater that plays both first run and alternative movies. Want live theater? In the same block Act ll theater offers live performances of plays and musical performances. Just at the end of the Main Street you walk into the Sweet Briar Cafe, famous for its many flavors of ice cream and deserts. It serves you a variety of meals. Breakfast lunch and dinner served in a warm setting with friendly waitstaff. Several booths located close together permit the unplanned conversation between residents of the community while dining and relaxing. It is a small town where people know each other.
If you want more you can explore the many other shops and stores off the beaten path, but close to Main Street. You can enjoy many festivals during the summer including a Restaurant Week Festival, The Annual Ambler Bike Race, and just south of the town a trail that is an extension of Wissahickon Park Trail. Very close by in the town of Gwyned, celebrate the coming of autumn by sampling many types of beer at the Oktoberfest. These are just a few things happening that you can take advantage of in this small, but growing, exciting town.